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WGST Blog Series #5: Academia & Activism- Creating a Better Georgetown

Content warning: sexual assault

31.6% of undergraduate women, since entering college at Georgetown, have “experienced penetration or sexual touching involving physical force and/or inability to consent or stop what was happening. Meanwhile, Bystander Training remains as the predominant form of sexual assault prevention, Georgetown JUST (as in, February 18) hired a Title IX investigator, and many, many individuals on this campus feel unsafe, unwelcome, and isolated. The University does not acknowledge us, and has not fully responded to the demands of student activists. There is a sexual assault crisis on this campus, and nothing truly seems to be changing.

The one source of hope, the one safe space in which these issues are discussed in a collaborative, academic, and comprehensive way, is Title IX for a New Generation, taught by the incredible Sara Collina, JD. This class is truly unprecedented - it is student-run, project based, and directly addresses the issue of sexual assault and harassment through the lens of Title IX. As a Women’s and Gender Studies major, this class provides me with essential knowledge and insight into a complex legal framework that concerns sexism, discrimination, and sexual harassment, in addition to giving me the space to work on such an important and multifaceted issue. Sexual assault is manifested and perpetuated through a campus culture that must be understood and altered. Title IX for a New Generation gives us a chance to devote credits and class time to implementing changes that are far overdue.

This class is a perfect example of how Women’s and Gender Studies discourse can study and address current issues that occur on our campus and in this country. Sexual assault involves power dynamics, intersecting oppression, consent, sexual health and education, etc. It occurs far too often, especially at Georgetown - but because of Women’s and Gender Studies and Sara Collina, students have an academic space in which we can work towards a safer and more inclusive Georgetown.

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